Review: E L Croucher – The Butterfly on Fire

The Butterfly on Fire
E L Croucher

A tragic, unchanging truth keeps three different lives twined to tell the same story. Eric realises he is different to everyone else, while Beam tried to balance everything in life. Finally, Queen Fabuki has had an innocent die at one of her shows – and she doesn’t know how to stop the mysterious intruder.

IΒ feel terrible about this novel. In fact, when I started writing a review for it (some months after I had started it), I started reviewing the wrong novel. I had read The Road to Transition one late night too, and somehow the two had merged into one. I had previously interviewed the author as well.Β 

I just couldn’t finish this novel. I actually started reading this novel when I couldn’t sleep one night and I sat with the fish tank light glowing on me. It added some nice atmosphere, and I did get a couple of chapters read. In the end though, it unfortunately served as a nice soporific to send me back to bed.

 

If you are desperate to read some more stories about transition, maybe this book could be for you. For me, because I couldn’t even bear finishing it, it’s getting 1 star. Maybe a second iteration would be ok, but I’m not willing to try again on this one.

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Review: Nick Lake – Whisper to Me

Whisper to Me
Nick Lake

Cass hears a voice. Just one, but that one tells her to hurt herself and not talk to other people, otherwise it will cause her dad to die. This causes her to hurt a boy she likes, so she writes him an incredibly long letter (email) in the form of this novel.

Sigh. I knew this novel wasn’t much chop from the very beginning. But a friend had said it was the best she had read while borrowing from my (limited) library. So I thought, ok, I’ll try it. It was the first couple of pages that put me off, honestly I’m not much of a list person, particularly in fiction novels. It better be useful, like in the start of me and you, but no, this one continued throughout the novel and it wasn’t useful.

There was no conclusion to that ending, and honestly, I was sick of it. I finished it, but that was it. Just a long email of apologising. Also, spoiler alert, no conclusion to the bad guys either.Β I’m not unwilling to read something else by this author, the writing style was engaging and I liked Cass’ characterisation well enough. But there was no resolution, and honestly the storyline was rambling (I know, I know, it’s the writing style of a teenager apologizing… over and over again).

I’m not even sure I can accept it for the mental illness content. Suggesting that ‘talk therapy’ can overcome hearing voices (even just the one voice Cass hears) is dangerous. As Cass finds out, when she stops taking her medication abruptly her self-preservation instincts go out the window. Honestly, I wouldn’t have been all that upset if she had died. Actually, that might have added some of the excitement I didn’t feel about Paris. Too much foreshadowing for so little actual action.

I do not recommend this novel. I wish I hadn’t wasted my time on it. I’d love to just give it 1 star, but I did at least finish it. So 2 stars it will have to be. I held out for hope of an ending, and nope, nothing there to redeem it.

Bloomsbury | 3rd May 2016 | paperback

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Reviews: Unfinished Novels Released to Book Crossing #3

I have a series of novels that I have never finished reading and in some cases, couldn’t face reading at all. In the interests of freeing up space on my bookshelves, and letting other people have a chance to read them, I have released these novels on Book Crossing. To see other books I have previously released, see here.

Jorie and the Magic Stones
A.H. Richardson

I think that I will no longer accept middle grade fiction anymore. This novel, despite sounding super promising, didn’t hit any of the notes it needed to in the first chapter for me to try keep reading. The writing style didn’t get me, and I felt like I was drowning. Even the dragon on the cover couldn’t keep me in it.

 

Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold
Iain Reading

This is another middle grade novel which I couldn’t get through. I tried really hard because I loved Iain’s other novel, the Dragon of the Month Club. There was too much detailed stuff on history and background and everything! It sells itself as one part travel, one part history and five parts adventure – but it’s more like six parts history, one part travel and no adventure! At least for the section I got through.

 

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Review: Victoria Carless – the dream walker

the dream walker
Victoria Carless

Lucy is 16 and ready to flee from Digger’s Landing, where the fish no longer bite and the dogs are covered with fleas. Her mother drowned herself and her father is desperate. Lucy wants to just get out of town and go to university, but her best friend is bailing in order to earn money

This is set in a ‘small Queensland fishing hamlet home to fifteen families, a posse of mongrel dogs, and Parkers Corner Store (no apostrophe and nowhere near a corner).’ Apart from some descriptive language that drove me crazy after a while (just say it already!), there was nothing good about this novel.Β I never connected to Lucy, or felt like I got into her friendship with Polly or her ?complicated? boyfriend relationship.Β 

The dreams come into this novel as an interesting plot point, where Lucy can help other people in her life from what she learns in dreams. Plenty of other dreamwalkers to read about: Dream FireΒ or Dream Strider. Don’t waste your precious reading time.

I couldn’t finish this novel. It was just so slow and boring. I barely remember reading the first part honestly, so I had trouble coming up with my own blurb. 1 star. Don’t bother.

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Reviews: Catherine Lacey – The Answers

The Answers
Catherine Lacey

Mary suffers from unexplained body pains. Left in pain with no money, no hope and no answers (haha), she’s willing to try anything. Her oldest friend in the world suggests a pricy wholistic treatment – and the first session seems to help. But Mary is going to need to finance it somehow – she’s going to be the Emotional Girlfriend.

I’m really frustrated by this book because it started off quite promisingly with a woman that is suffering from unexplained body pain, who then was able to recover by using this special psychic therapy. Which of course manipulates her emotions, and her practitioner’s emotions, lining her up perfectly to be the…

EMOTIONAL GIRLFRIEND for self-suffering, stuck up jerk of an actor who thinks that he can change the outlines of love. What starts out as an experiment as far as she knows sort of goes more weirdly the further along you get. I was reading along very happily because they hadn’t fallen in love yet (my partner pointed out this has two hearts on the cover, one of red and one of blue) and it didn’t seem to be another irritating straight romance. Since there were lots of girlfriends and the blurb said things about unexpected relationships developing, I got excited! Then clearly nothing happened: basically she didn’t fall for the guy which was AMAZING, but then it’s all the scientists’ fault they were manipulating them. I basically want to give away the whole story because otherwise, like me, you will read two thirds of it and then say “Wow I wasted a lot of time reading that, when nothing has actually happened!”

I didn’t actually feel a connection with any of the characters. I hated the main actor character which may have been because he was a man. But perhaps I was supposed to hate him… or maybe it was because I just never emotionally connected with any of the characters. This was due to a number of factors, including jumping around between perspectives; a bit of the main character’s perspective, then a bit of each side character acting. These characters weren’t even 2D, the other girlfriends weren’t important and they were just distractions. That space could have been used to resolve Mary’s whole complicated emotional background about being an orphan, but instead the read is left drifting along aimlessly.

I didn’t love it, I wouldn’t recommend it and all I can think of is that maybe this is written so that people who have read The Secret can say “Oh look, perfect, this book says it has The Answers”. Maybe if they were suckers enough to get into The Secret then they might be suckers enough to enjoy this novel. I didn’t. I finished it, but it was a struggle and I freely admit I speed read the last couple pages. I wish I hadn’t wasted my precious reading time on it. 1 begrudging star.

Allen & Unwin | 28th June 2017 | AU $27.99 | paperback

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Reviews: Unfinished Novels Released to Book Crossing #2

I have a series of novels that I have never finished reading and in some cases, couldn’t face reading at all. In the interests of freeing up space on my bookshelves, and letting other people have a chance to read them, I have released these novels on Book Crossing. To see other books I have previously released, see here.

Tales of the Zodiac: The Goat’s Tale (Volume 1)
P.J. Hetherhouse

This novel was published in 2014, so I’m pretty sure it’s been sitting on my shelf for the full 3 years after the author sent it for review. Although the sales copy obviously entranced me, I couldn’t get into the first chapter. I usually like things based on Celtic mythology, so I’m not sure what went wrong.

 

Windwitch
Susan Dennard

I actually received this novel for review from Pan Macmillan January 2017 after requesting it! When it arrived however, I realised that it was the second in a series. I HATE it when that happens. So off I went to find the first novel, and fortunately found an eBook copy. So I started reading that… then was so disgusted that I just couldn’t face it any more. So I didn’t even attempt this one.

 

Eyes Like Lighthouses When the Boats Come Home
Dane Cobain

Although I loved another of Cobain’s novels, Former.ly and his other, No Rest for the Wicked, was ok, I’m just not into poetry. Thus I am letting this one into the wild to be free. Someone else who loves poetry will probably appreciate it, and I wish them luck (and hope they decide to read Dane’s novels as well).

 

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Reviews: Unfinished Novels Released to Book Crossing #1

I have a series of novels that I have never finished reading and in some cases, couldn’t face reading at all. In the interests of freeing up space on my bookshelves, and letting other people have a chance to read them, I have released these novels on Book Crossing.

The Second Coming: A Love Story
Scott Pinsker

I received this book for review, but the cover, the story, the everything put me off reading. It has been sitting on my shelf to be read for at least 3 years, so it is time for it to go.

 

NIGHT PEOPLE, Book 1 – Things We Lost in the Night: A Memoir of Love and Music in the 60s with Stark Naked and the Car Thieves (Volume 1)
Larry J Dunlap

I received this book for review, but the cover put me off reading. Then when I attempted to read it, I couldn’t get through the dry text of the first chapter. It has been sitting on my shelf to be read for at least 2 years, so it is time for it to go.

 

Delivering the Phantom Moon
Niro Raine

I received this book for review. When I attempted to read it several times, I couldn’t get through the first chapter due to a number of factors. The character names seemed forced, the humour was just odd and I didn’t love the text formatting (funny how the small things can add up). It has been sitting on my shelf to be read for at least 2 years, so it is time for it to go.

 

 

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Review: Natasha Carthew – The Light that Gets Lost

The Light that Gets Lost
Natasha Carthew

Trey’s family was shot by a religious figure while he hid in the cupboard. Years in and out of foster homes has seen Trey finally end up in a compound run by priests – where perhaps he will be able to find his parents’ killer and enact his revenge.

20617991Despite starting out like a corrective detention redemption and revenge novel, this rapidly degenerates to a Lord of the Flies drama. Trey is infected with a Demon that burns to burn things. The girl he likes has interesting looking scars on her back. Then all the adults go to hell, and the kids wreak havoc on everything. Power corrupts. What is new?

The imagery drove me nuts. Anyone for seeping red, sticky red, blood? Anyone want Trey to set fire to his own head, so that the ashes can match his heart, the landscape, everything else in sight?

I didn’t love a single one of the characters. Their language and consistent shortening of all words and the repetitive and obvious thoughts and actions that each ‘performed’ felt strange and strained. Trey, you’re an idiot. I don’t know how old you are really, but pull yourself together man!

This could be called future fiction, because the novel hints the whole time about the world outside the compound possibly being even worse for children than what they face with the Preacher in charge. Something to go along with that was the ending of the novel. If life out there is so good, why hadn’t they just done that earlier? Escape.

This is not a gripping novel. I drove myself to finish reading it, but it was a struggle. I had picked it up once, put it back down after trying to slog through the painful internal dialogue of Trey, then picked it up again because after all, I requested it! 1 star. Don’t bother wasting your time.

1star

Bloomsbury | 1st December 2016 | AU $19.99 | Paperback

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Review: Norma Jennings – Passenger from Greece

Passenger from Greece
Norma Jennings

Olivia Reed wanted to see the world – so she chose the career of a flight attendant. A brush with death ignites a romance that she wasn’t expecting – but it’s complicated with her work and family expectations.

26865265Dear me. This novel. Where to start with its faults. There weren’t enough clues for the reader to really feel like they were on the scene. I was told how to feel about every situation, I didn’t need to think for myself. Again, the blurb gives away too much of the novel contents.

Romance hey? ‘The One’? Ugh. The sex scene in this was just awkward, and I swiftly skipped the pages. This must be a woman’s fiction romance, but I expect more from my characters. Do you have no backbone? Oh wait, you do, but I’m still not convinced. You’re so gullible! And oh, you trusty friend, why didn’t I love you before?

I couldn’t have cared less what they ate! The amount of time spent looking at and eating food could have been used on developing the characters and trying to get me to be more sympathetic about their problems.

I couldn’t get why they were so terrified of drug smugglers. Surely they could have just been more calm about it? Stop touching the evidence guys! And for goodness sakes, stop acting so guilty! How dumb can you be?

The plot was completely transparent, and not in a good way. Hmm, I wonder which of the tiny cast of characters might be at fault? Way too easy to answer. I think it was the blurb that waned me off. It wanted to tackle too many issues without enough substance in its characters.

It’s a bad sign when I want to fill a review with rhetorical questions. A really, really bad sign. I put off reading this for months, and I fully understand why I did. I read it so that I wouldn’t need to bring it home with me from my overseas trip. 1 star. Don’t waste your time.

1star

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Review: Judy Bruce – Voices in the Wind

Voices in the Wind
Judy Bruce

Megan has returned home for a funeral, and ends up facing more than she bargained for. She’s just finished the Bar exams that mean she’s a full-fledged lawyer. She comes to a practice that is being embezzled and a stage set for death.

25041953This book was such a disappointment. All the exciting things promised in the blurb turned out to be completely predictable. The grand secret? Meh. I wasn’t that convinced that her dad had done anything wrong. It’s hard to cope with children, of any kind!

The progression was soooo slow. Thing one happened. Then there was a bit of uninspiring soul searching. Then thing 2. Oh wait, she needs to run out into the middle of the woods. And then… Oh no, we’ve been distracted by childhood memories. Oh yes, back to the main storyline. Oh wait, we diverged again.

This was a classic example of telling vs showing storytelling. The fight scenes which could have been exciting were like the boring blow by blows (literally) of a boxer’s match. There was no feeling of character, and honestly I couldn’t tell the difference between the different people – I didn’t even remember their names. Megan… And ah, dad? Uncle Bill? No idea on the rest of them, even the ‘blonde hunk’.

I barely finished this novel. Honestly, I can’t see who it might appeal to. It just didn’t take my fancy. The author very nicely asked me to review it, and kindly sent me the first two novels in the series, but I won’t be even attempting the second one in the hopes it gets better.

1star

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